What Marketers Can Learn From Nokia

What Marketers Can Learn From Nokia

What Marketers Can Learn From Nokia

How the mighty fall….. A deck of slides leaked this week seem to suggest that Microsoft are going to drop any mention of ‘Nokia’ during the Christmas 2015 campaigns for Lumia devices.

This made me wonder how the world’s dominant phone handset maker a relatively short time ago became such an irrelevance and even (albeit a little harshly) a joke. How can market share drop from 49% to 3% in six years? Knowing the story of Nokia can highlight some important lessons for marketers.

Past success ≠ future success:

Nokia had a rich history of innovation and adaptation. The company was formed in 1865 with paper mills and over the years represented rubber boots and car tyres. But it was mobile phones which transformed this Finnish company into a worldwide brand.

And make no mistake, Nokia was hugely successful at making mobile phones. As late as 2007, Nokia alone represented 50% of all profits made in the entire mobile phone market.

But resting on laurels is not recommended in any market, particularly in the fast-moving world of technology.

First-in can be first-out:

Pioneers are not necessarily always the companies who reap all of the success. Nokia was innovative in the creation of mobile phone hardware. It developed its first smartphone prototype way back in 1996, and was developing touch-screen prototypes and internet-enabled phones by the end of the 1990s. It wasn’t just about Nokia phones so hard they can stop a bullet.

But the focus was very much on hardware, crucially not on software.

It wasn’t always a marketing problem:

Nokia was not a marketing fail, at least not for a number of years. In fact, Samsung and Apple have a lot to thank Nokia for, because Nokia developed mobile phones into fashion accessories. Its Expression series introduced the interchangeable fascia in 1998.

But Nokia’s marketing mistake was relying too heavily on its brand name. Despite some R&D trailblazing, they were late to the smart-phone market and relied on the strength of their brand to make up for lost time. But people had already moved on by this stage and were falling for the iPhone.

It’s all about the consumer:

Perhaps the most important lesson for marketers is this one – you must always listen to the consumer. The key to Nokia’s early success was focusing on hardware, the handset itself. But with the introduction of more sophisticated and powerful mobile operating systems, consumers started spending more and more time looking at software – what can my phone actually do?

The Nokia user experience via Symbian was unintuitive and clunky, but being a pioneer it had the opportunity to change its system to Windows Phone from future owners Microsoft. However, it clung onto Symbian until 2011 – 3 years after the launch of Android and a full 4 years after iOS. The train had left the station and the ground that Nokia had to make up was too vast.

This didn’t stop Nokia from trying to catch up – but it was still not listening to the consumer. It had a focus on music when Android and iOS phones were opening up the possibility of the smartphone being a passport to wherever you want (just look at the variety of apps on your phone). In 2013, Nokia launched the Nokia Lumia 1020 – a phone with a massive 41MP camera. But do consumers want a camera that powerful? The emphasis is surely on storage and ease of sharing your photos rather than printing them out in huge sizes?

Nokia is not the first business who hasn’t listened to the consumer and suffered. Blockbuster and Kodak are good examples too. But if business leaders and marketers do not learn from these companies, they run the risk of following them into the history books.

Personal Branding Tips

Personal branding

You may not like what I’m about to say, but I’m going to say it anyway.  You have got something in common with Coca-Cola, IBM and McDonalds – you are a brand.  If you want to stand out as a person, be it in the workplace, on social media, or wherever, then building up your personal brand is important, and there have never been more avenues to express your brand than right now in 2014.

So, how do you get started with personal branding, and how do you continue to build your brand?

Define who you are and who you want to me (they will be different): This is an obvious one, but it was not so long ago that I was working in a non-marketing role, but really wanted to work in marketing again – so, I spent some time retraining in digital marketing and that has helped me make that transition.  I wanted to change my personal brand into a digital marketing expert, and keeping that expertise is a full time job…..but it’s the job I love.  So, be honest about where you are now and where you want to be: getting this right will help you build your branding plan.

What platform are we on? By a platform I mean a way that people can find out all about you and your brand without necessarily knocking on your front door and having a chat!  As a digital marketer, it was pretty clear to me that I should start my own website (iamjustinwilson.com), so some years ago, I did exactly that.  I am no programmer, but I was able to create a decent looking site with next to no money.  However, LinkedIn are now rolling out the chance for you to publish on their site and those published articles will appear on your profile – this is brilliant!  One of the challenges about starting a new platform is building the network (hopefully they will talk about your brand with you and others), but on LinkedIn, you probably already have at least a few dozen connections – your network awaits!

Walk the walk: If you are making proclamations in your ‘personal brand communication’ but not following it through in real life, you are going to get found out.  You should live by your brand values (for example, being a source of digital marketing information, and trying to contribute positively to the digital community) – history is littered with companies whose failed products do not live up to their brand values, so don’t fall into their trap.

Always moving: This one is much easier to say than to do.  Your personal brand should be a dynamic one, always looking to learn and try new things: and if you have developed a great platform, then you need to talk about your experiences, both positive and negative – this will continue to build your brand.

Be unique: This is very much a tip that applies to personal and business brands.  The Unique Selling Point (*marketing jargon alert, sorry*) is what will help you stand out in a very busy environment, so you should think about how you can stand out – for example, it may be that you talk candidly about your personal experiences and mistakes.  See what’s already out there and identify what is missing – and fill that gap.

Image via mashable.com

The Perfect Marketing Email

Email Marketing

Email Marketing

In reviews of marketing campaigns, there is one tool which is consistently used by marketers because it is cheap and effective: email marketing.

However, in my experience, little time is spent working out what makes an effective email campaign – and given the amount of flexibility you can have and how measurable your changes are, I find this crazy!  So, here are the 5 features that the perfect marketing email should have:

Visibility:  Like any marketing, unless it is experienced by the target audience, it is a waste of money.  So, make sure that it gets through Spam filters, and remember that different email providers will have different triggers for dumping your masterpiece in Spam.

Great subject line:  This is a cliché, but I receive so many marketing emails with the subject line ‘Latest News from……’.  So what?!  I don’t care what your latest news is, I want to know what you can do for me!  Simply thinking about the email from the recipient’s perspective can boost your open rate.

Content that means something:  This is a delicate balance…  It kind of depends on the objective of your email, but a mix of words and images is good.  100% words is pretty dry (and does feel a lot like a work email), but 100% pictures would mean that you are more likely to be categorised spam, and what if the pictures are blocked?  I saw a nice trick a while ago where the sender has coded their email pictures to say ‘you are missing out on a great picture of a beautiful guitar’ when the pictures were blocked – highly recommended!

Call to Action:  This may seem obvious, but I have just opened up the last 10 marketing emails that I have received, and 4 didn’t have a call to action.  Let the recipient know what you would like them to do!

Tracking:  If you have segmented your audience (and you should have to know what content the recipient would like to see), you should track which type of recipients have interacted with the email.  Simple custom URLs will track people when they get to your site, and ideally you would have something in place to track them while they are on your site – then you can start linking email with conversions and ROI!

What are your email tips?  Leave and comment and let me know!

Image via harrisonamy.com

The Future of Facebook

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This week saw the 10th anniversary of the worlds biggest social network, Facebook. It has grown from zero to almost 1.2 billion members, a staggering 17% of the planet’s population. It can claim that it introduced the world to a brand new media, social, or at least an attractive enough proposition for people in their hundreds of millions to get involved.

So, given the huge changes on the world of communication and connection that Facebook has driven, what will the next ten years hold for Facebook?

Will it even exist? I think in 2024 that Facebook will still have a significant presence in social media. The vast number of Facebook accounts may not stay in the billions (unless they can get through the Great Firewall of China before it’s too late), and the demographics of the typical Facebook user may change, but it will still be a player – it feels too big to just disappear (that phrase could well come back to haunt me!).

Who will the audience be? Facebook is already experiencing the trend of an older demographic with large numbers of young users abandoning their accounts, but what about the older audience. I think it will remain attractive because I don’t think they have consciously joined the network the cause younger people have – their friendship group has reached the tipping point where they feel they should join. Facebook often talk about the next 5 billion users, but the future will deliver more specialised networks, grouped by interest or demographic (like SnapChat has done for teens and young adults has done in the last year).

Will the empire grow? Facebook has already proved that it is not afraid to grow the empire, in terms of development of the network but also the acquisition of competitors (e.g. Instagram). If they see a threat, they can act fast with large revenues from advertising. Maybe the time will come when Facebook as a social network is not the biggest part of Facebook Inc’s portfolio…?

Is mobile (still) the future? This may be a little short-term, but the current Facebook mobile experience is pretty depressing – a temperamental app and a separate app for messaging and yet another for managing company pages – this sort of experience will turn people off as they rely more and more on mobile for their content. Mobile should be considered the norm, it will be in some countries by 2015.

How big is the data? Right now, marketers are offered display advertising and that’s pretty much it. But the size and quality if the data that is held by Facebook which could unlock a new chapter. Somehow using the tremendous amounts of big data, from a marketers perspective, opens up personalisation to a level that we would struggle to get our heads round in 2014.

So, in summary, there is a future for Facebook. The people on the network may change their demographic, but there will still be hundreds of millions there. And I think that the future fir Facebook is positive – their first decade was without compare, and if they continue to be flexible enough to adapt and rich enough to afford it, the future of Facebook looks bright.

Get more from LinkedIn

LinkedIn

LinkedInIn my opinion, LinkedIn is one of the most under-utilised social networks around today.  Lots of people have a profile on LinkedIn, but there is so much more to it than just that!  So, what else can you do on a social network that has almost 250 million people on it?

Get the basics right:  The first thing that you need to do is make sure that you are representing yourself as you would like to.  So, make sure that your profile has a good amount of information on it (not too much, not too little!), and make sure that you have a photo – there are a lot of spam LinkedIn accounts and a profile with no photo is one of the red flags.  Show that you are a human!

Who do you want to hear from?  There are a lot of companies on LinkedIn, so if you have an interest in a company, or they are a competitor of yours, then follow them and see what they are up to.  This will not only give you their news (assuming that they are sending updates!), but also a chance to interact with the company by commenting on their update.  This can be useful if you are trying to get on a company’s radar.

Groups are awesome:  Groups are my favourite part of LinkedIn.  Nowhere else on the web can you find groups of such specific people – whatever your job, it is likely that there is a LinkedIn group where you can get all of the latest news and make some new connections.  But don’t just sit back and read then news, get involved.  Add comments, start discussions and interact with people on groups – they are a great way of professionally meeting new people.

Take the hard sell elsewhere:  As with any social network, if you are selling all the time, then you are going to turn people off.  So, instead of just commenting on posts where you have a platform to sell your product, add some value back into the network too, e.g. by offering useful advice – this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sell where it is appropriate, but remember to change the record!

Consider the audience:  This is one of the pillars of marketing, and it is very important on LinkedIn.  I would guess that the majority of people who are on LinkedIn also have a Facebook account.  But they will post about very different subjects because they are portraying different sides of their personality, and are open to different messages.  So, don’t post about your friend’s stag do on LinkedIn, trust me, I have actually seen that!  LinkedIn is a professional network, so tailor your content accordingly.

Landing Page Happiness

Landing Page

Landing Page

Last week, I wrote about PPC and how, if you manage it well, it can deliver excellent quality traffic to your website.  However, I also mentioned that this is only half of the equation – if your website is a disappointing experience, then the money and effort that went into driving the right traffic will all be wasted.  So, here are some tips to help you towards landing page happiness and a great experience for the user.

  1. Make sure it’s a landing page: You should not use your home page as the first page that someone visits when they come from PPC.  For a lot of the visitors who visit your site, you will not know what their particular interest is, but for PPC users, you will know what keyword they have used, so you will be able to tailor the content that they see to the keyword that they have used.
  2. Make is specific: Although this is not PPC related, it is something to consider!  If you are receiving traffic from a particular referrer, then you should tailor your landing page to that referrer.  For example, the link to your website from your YouTube channel should contain video (you already know they like that!), or if it is from Twitter, then the content should be concise and as punchy as possible.  Think about the mind-set that the user will be in when they first visit your site.
  3. Keep the options limited: When this is done well, the user will not feel like their options are limited.  Depending on the keyword that the user has searched for, offer the logical next steps for journey, and don’t confuse them by giving them too many options – this will result in the user getting lost and abandoning the site.  And don’t forget the call to action, it’s what the user is looking for!
  4. Let the user decide: There is no such thing as the perfect landing page, so you should always be testing your landing page.  Using A/B or multivariate testing to see which elements are working and which are not, and let the user behaviour and a deep analysis of the results tell you what the best approach is.  And don’t make testing a one-off exercise – it should be part of a programme of continuous improvement.  

Got some great landing page tips of your own?  Please leave a comment and share them!

Get Your Voice Heard on Facebook

Facebook Logo

Facebook Logo

As the world’s largest social network, Facebook looks like a great opportunity for marketers.  The sheer size of the network (1.1bn people) means that there are people out there who would be interested in your product, and the fact that users share information about themselves, means that you should be able to accurately segment the audience. 

However, Facebook will only share posts from a page that a user likes if that user is likely to engage with the message.  If you have liked a page but not interacted with it (i.e. liked, commented or shared), then Facebook will filter posts sent from the liked page.  So, how can you produce content that that your audience will interact with?  Here are my 5 tips:

  1. Timing is everything: The best time to post your content will be driven by who your audience is, e.g. if they are professionals, then posting in the middle of the day is unlikely to get much interaction, but posting in the evening could be the time they will be on Facebook.  You should also consider your frequency – you need a presence on someone’s timeline, but not to overwhelm it.
  2. Keep it succinct: We have all seen long rambling posts on Facebook, but how many people actually read them all the way through to the end?  Like any copy, the snappier it is, the more likely people will be to read it in the first place.
  3. Ask for interaction: If you want it, don’t be afraid of asking for it – it’s the call to action.  Yes, the user will need to engage with the content, but finishing a post with something like ‘please share this article with your friends’ has been proven to attract more interaction. 
  4. Variety is the spice: Facebook allows you to share a wide range of content with your audience – articles, pictures, videos, polls, etc.  Through Facebook Analytics you will quickly see which content is the most successful for interaction, so do more of that! And regardless of the type of content, always add a picture to your post: it helps your message stand out (see Mashable on Facebook to see it done well).
  5. Bring your brand to life: Increasing your brands relevancy with the user will encourage interaction.  Over the course of a year there will be key dates which you should integrate into your content plan, e.g. key shows / conferences / public holidays.  Making a link between these and your brand will encourage people to share the message with their friends.